Sunday, January 09, 2005


He could give a lecture on the periodic table of elements with his eyes closed. He begins his day inspiring kids with coke bottle glasses and pocket protectors. But like Spiderman and Superman, when our latest super hero pops into the parking lot and finds his SUV with the personalized VBalPlyr plate, Long Beach State’s Andy Read makes a startling transformation.

Say goodbye to the gentle and patient science teacher and hello to one of the great volleyball minds in the nation and now the USA Volleyball Development Coach of the Year. This past summer Andy coached the USA Boy’s Youth National Team to a gold medal in Mexico City, the latest entry in a resume full of international success.

This year he has two 49er products to be especially proud of, the best setter in the nation in Tyler Hildebrand and a kid he coached back at Marina High in the late ‘80’s, then a raw-boned and un-refined front court hitter named Alan Knipe who would key the Beach first NCAA title and who last month was named national coach of the year. Oh, yes, as a volunteer assistant, the amazing and tireless Andy Read is the best bargain at the Beach.

DRYING OUT DUST—These good words from Niner skipper Mike Weathers about the outlook for more Fun Friday’s at Blair. "Cesar Ramos is capable of the same Friday night's as former All-Americans Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver

The Bags also return Neal Jamison, the team's closer last year after two years as a setup man and at one point last year he led the nation in saves. Jamison stumbled in the super regional, was drafted in the eighth round by the Mets but chose to return to LBSU for his senior season. The Dirtbags open the season January 28 at Arizona State after the team's Leadoff Dinner, featuring American League Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby on January 20, and the team's alumni game on January 22.

Looking far ahead, doesn’t it always seem that the words post-season and Stanford go together? In which case you might be interested in knowing that the Cardinal will finish the regular season at USC which might or might not mean something. The Beach finish the weekend before at CSUF which also marks the return of the former KWRM Titan baseball voice Rob Buska to his old broadcast booth. Buska is always well prepared and will do every Dirtbag game this season.

Just name dropping. These early records for former Niner basketball coaches Seth Greenberg (6-6) and Wayne Morgan (8-4). The queen of the Niner athletic staff Pat West is off her feet for a while rehabbing after one of those complete knee replacements but may show when the first place ladies hoopsters start a four game home stand Thursday at the Mid.

Lots of press and actually a break in the weather for the wedding of Dirtbag first baseman Mike Hofius and his number one fan and now his new boss, Lindsay Hamblin. They got hitched Saturday between showers at a well-rinsed Blair Field.

Rumor milling. I had to chuckle at Niner Dave on one of those web chat rooms when after reading the whines of disgruntled men’s hoop fans noted that some guy suggested that old alum Mike Montgomery, he of the $10 mill NBA job, come back to his alma mater. NinerDave then said,” You probably thought we'd get George Allen too. Oh, that's right, we did! “

More cyber cynics, this one is from CSUN who had to endure those “state school” taunts from fans in the stands at UCSB and UCI. After the Mats beat the Eaters HoopsDr said, “Just like the UCSB grads, they (the UCIs) all end up working at Woodstock Pizza... Great pizza though...”

Another scary Northridge note was the word that on top of having a great basketball coach in Bobby Braswell the school got an endorsement from their City Council, “$50 million expected from a future state bond measure, design already under way.” Don’t panic it is not a new gym, rather the San Fernando Valley's first major performing arts center. Whew.—DR. DAN


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